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The Message and Ministry of Jeremiah

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Title: The Message and Ministry of Jeremiah


1
The Message and Ministry of Jeremiah

2
A Priest at Anathoth
  • a descendant of the priest Abiathar who was
    banished by Solomon to Anathoth (1 Kings 226f)
  • Anathoth had a family of priests who descended
    from Eli
  • connected to early period of Judges

3
Problems with Chronology
  • 11-3 suggests a ministry of over 40 years
  • no material of the book seems to be connected to
    Josiah
  • a hugely important king in Judah
  • centralized worship, reformed religion
  • Josiah was a central hero in II Kings
  • Jeremiah is silent about Josiahs religious
    reforms you expect highest praise!

4
Jeremiah and Deuteronomy
  • linguistic linkage between Jeremiah and Deut and
    DtH (Joshua-II Kings)
  • Believed to be the intellectual product of
    religious reforms carried out by Josiah
  • Yet Jer says nothing about these drastic reforms
    (some say ch. 11 supports Deuteronomic reforms)
  • still - his language shows great similarities!

5
A Suggestion
  • The 627 date of the superscription (13th year of
    Josiah) may have been when Jeremiah was born
  • He was appointed while in the womb! (15)
  • He died sometime after 586 in Egypt, after the
    fall of Jerusalem

6
This is clear
  • Babylon is the growing power of the time after
    Assyrian collapse in end of 7th Cen.
  • Josiah dies in Battle at Meggido in 609 killed
    in treachery by an Egyptian ally
  • Huge shock to the reform movement (Deut promises
    blessings/curses)
  • Jeremiahs ministry probably started after this
    (J would have been about 18)

7
Historical Background
  • Jehoiakim becomes king and an Egyptian vassal
  • Babylonians siege Jerusalem 598-7, during which
    time Jeh. dies and Jeconiah assumes the throne
  • Babylonians depose him and send him to exile with
    many others place Zedekiah on throne
  • for a decade, Judah tries to free itself
    relying on Egypt for assistance
  • Egypt provided promises but no actual aid

8
  • Zedekiah comes under influence of pro-Egyptian
    lobby
  • Jeremiah consistently urges cooperation with
    Babylon and acquiescence to them
  • Judah Revolts and Babylon takes Jerusalem in 587
    (major exile occurs)

9
  • Babylonians appointed Gedaliah as governor
  • Jeremiah wished to stay in Judah
  • Gedaliah was assassinated along with some
    Babylonian soldiers
  • Fearing recrimination, many leaders left fled to
    Egypt forcing Jeremiah to go along

10
Complexities of Arrangements
  • poetic oracles and historical prose mixed
  • confusing arrangement (chs. 7 and 26 tell the
    same story)
  • very Deuteronomic in style and theme
  • historical appendix in ch. 52 which is borrowed
    from 2 Kings 2428-2530
  • describes the grizzly death of Zedekiah,
    pillaging of the temple, murder of priests, going
    to exile, etc.

11
Complexities of Arrangement
  • Old Greek translation represent a very different
    text in arrangement
  • suggests Hebrew text represents the results of
    many years of editorial activity
  • possible that the Greek text represents editing
    done in Egypt
  • Hebrew text represents editing done in Babylon by
    exiles
  • DSS has evidence of both arrangements

12
Main Sections
  • Section 1 chs. 1-25 mainly poetic oracles with
    occasional biography (14-19)
  • Section 2 chs 26-45 biographical narrative
    about Jeremiah interspersed with prophetical
    sermons
  • Prophecies of judgment and hope (26-35) with the
    Little book of Comfort (30-33)
  • narratives that deal with the latest recorded
    events in Jeremiahs life (36-45)

13
Main Sections
  • Jeremiah 46-51 oracles against the nations (in
    Greek this comes before section 2)
  • Section 4 Jeremiah 52 taken from II Kings is
    the historical conclusion
  • confirms accuracy of Jeremiahs prophecy
  • Another approach to arrangement

14
Another approach ABCs
  • A. Poetry of Jeremiah (1-25) in 3/2 qinah cadence
    which expresses sorrow
  • Some scholars believe this is the only section
    actually written by Jeremiah
  • thus A above can mean authentic
  • B. Biographical prose 26-45
  • some poetry interspersed
  • represents the narratives of Baruch thus B

15
ABC method
  • C. contributions of compilers (redactors)
  • these persons arranged the texts
  • added explanations and headings (11-3)
  • redactors had their own goals and perspectives
  • yet may represent Jeremiahs substance

16
The Burning of the Scroll
  • in B (Jer 364) telling tale
  • 4th year of Jehoiakim (605) whom the Egyptians
    elevated to the throne after his father Josiah
    died
  • Jeremiah dictated a summary of oracles and had
    Baruch read the scroll before everyone gathered
    for a fast day.
  • Jeremiahs message of the wrath of God
    Babylons invasion sounded like treason

17
Burning of the Scroll
  • royal officials advise J and B to go into hiding
  • Scroll brought to Jehoiakims attention
  • Scroll is read to him and with each sheet, he
    slashes off the read portion and burns it
  • Jeremiah dictated contents of the original scroll
    and produced an enlarged edition (3632)

18
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19
Jeremiahs new scroll
  • the nucleus of the book (A) is the enlarged
    scroll in 1st person
  • the purpose of the oracles is to awaken the
    people to the Babylonian threat
  • contains oracles from Jeremiahs earlier period
    and possibly of his support for the Deuteronomic
    reforms (ch. 11?)
  • yet these prophecies were reworked in light of
    later events

20
Jeremiahs Scroll
  • In addition, Jeremiah included other oracles of
    later origin
  • One can only speculate as to what the contents of
    the original burned scroll were
  • narratives composed by Baruch were added to
    section 1
  • Baruch composed his biography of Jeremiah (now B)
    in 3rd person
  • later DtR redacted the whole giving it its shape
  • superscriptions, interior notations, conclusion
    (ch 52)

21
Reign of Jehoiakim
  • What was his message for Jehoiakim?
  • Jeh. (609-598) was installed by Pharaoh Neco, and
    thus his puppet
  • His first official act was to impose a tax to
    raise tribute for Egypt (2 Kings 2335)
  • Jehoiakim completely different from his father
    Josiah (read Jer. 2213-19)
  • Josiah aspired to be David, Jehoiakim Solomon

22
Jehoiakim and Solomon
  • Jeh. (as Solomon) forced labor to build
    magnificent palaces 2213
  • being a king meant living in luxury and style
    vs. 15
  • to know God is to do justice something Jeh.
    knows nothing about (vs. 16)
  • Jeh oppressed his people and shed innocent blood
    (vs. 17)

23
Jehoiakim and the Prophets
  • Jeh. was the only Judean king, so far as is
    known, to have executed a prophet of God
    (2620-23)
  • Jeremiah was almost executed except for an appeal
    to Micah and help from friends

24
Jeremiahs Call Doom and Hope
  • Jer 110 See, today I appoint you over nations
    and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy
    and overthrow, to build and to plant."

25
Marriage Metaphor
  • Jeremiah 21-13 (NIV)
  • marriage metaphor (22 also 31)
  • legal prosecution 29
  • witnesses called (212)
  • 314 and 19 Note the change of metaphor
  • How does the change of metaphor alter the tone of
    the passage?

26
Story of Two Sisters (36-44)
  • Israel and Judah like two sisters
  • Israel acted wickedly and sent into exile
  • Judah learned nothing was more faithless
  • Yet God promised blessing could come if people
    repented
  • must forsake idols and commit themselves wholly
  • half-hearted repentance will not do!

27
Trouble from the North (45-630)
  • rebellion and corruption brings judgment yet J.
    feels Gods anguish (419-22)
  • they worshipped foreign idols, they would go to
    live in foreign lands (518-19)
  • Yet their hearts are hard and corrupt (520ff)
  • an enemy approaches from the north (61-8)
  • but Jerusalem is w/o excuse! (69-15)

28
The Temple Sermon
  • Jeremiah chs. 7 and 26
  • Read 71-13
  • Davidic and Mosaic Covenants

29
The Temple of the Lord!
  • vs. 74 chanted in hope and prayer!
  • Davids descendants would live forever in
    Jerusalem (unconditional promise)!
  • Hadnt God delivered Hezekiah in 701?
  • Jeremiah confronts false hopes
  • no magical words or chants (empty words!)
  • when God sees righteousness, God will bless!
  • God sees not only idolatry but unrighteousness!

30
Temple as Den of Robbers
  • Jehoiakim had fully revived the paganism that his
    father sought to eliminate
  • People, discouraged with Deut. reforms, turned to
    their former ways with a vengeance (718)
  • child sacrifice introduced! (30-31, 195)
  • happening in shadow of the Temple
  • people going through formalities of worship in
    Temple (78-10)

31
Amending your ways!
  • Amend your ways and your doings!
  • note Mosaic conditional if (75-7) and appeals
    to covenant law (vs. 8-10)
  • he challenges the premise of the Davidic covenant
    (Ps. 46)
  • temple refuge
  • now temple den of robbers

32
Remember Shiloah
  • note 712 and 14
  • Shiloh destroyed by Philistines and ark taken
    into their hands!
  • another oracle (721-23) has God claim to have
    never asked for burned offerings!
  • obedience is all that counts
  • Tiggays explanation (free-will offerings)

33
Peace, Peace!
  • Jeremiahs word of doom seemed incredible to king
    and people
  • they believed Egypt would protect them from the
    storm from the north (216, 18)
  • other prophets promised divine restoration
    without judgment.
  • peace, peace they said (613-15)

34
Idols, treachery and tears (84-1025)
  • God marvels at Judahs wickedness
  • Common animals observe laws God had given (87ff)
  • they acted as if they had never heard of Gods
    laws and plunge headlong like a horse headed into
    battle! (86)
  • 910-11 domestic animals replaced by wild!
  • 101-16 Why worship made by hands? (read this
    passage)

35
Jeremiahs Confessions (111-2018)
  • chs 11-20 has Jeremiahs Confessions
  • prophets personal cries and complaints to God
  • 1118-20 121-6 1510-21 1714-18 1818-23
    207-18
  • he struggled personally mocking, persecution
  • he also struggled with God himself.
  • did God not see his pain? why did he have to
    suffer so much to be faithful to his call?

36
The Potters House (181-915)
  • read v. 1-12
  • he watches the potter re-fashion the clay
  • what is the spiritual message?
  • As the potter fashioned clay, so the Lord shapes
    the nations according to his design.
  • decreed judgment can be lifted w/repentance and
    blessings can be removed by unrepentant
    sinfulness.

37
Potter continued
  • people should not assume either blessing or curse
    God can change courses dependant on the facts
    on the ground
  • God isnt fate yet not capricious
  • not set in stone with wrath or blessing
  • not willy-nilly with whimsy
  • 191-2 smashed earthen jar also a testimony of
    danger of wrath
  • Play on words Jug babuq make void babaq

38
Smashing of the babuq ch. 19)
  • J. described the sins of Judah which included
    infant sacrifice
  • terrible things are coming which includes
    cannibalism of children! (v. 9)
  • in smashing the jug, he seems to indicate the
    irrevocable nature of judgment.
  • Hinnom Valley will became a place of slaughter.

39
Infant Sacrifice in Hinnom (193f)
  • Earthenware jug is to be smashed in Hinnom (192)
  • valley where infant sacrifice is practiced near
    Jerusalem (730f, 194f)
  • Tophet platform for infant sacrifice
  • Josiah had already banned this practice (2 Kings
    2310)
  • things I did not command but did people think
    God had? (Exod 2229-30 vs. Lev 1821)

40
Jeremiah and the Prophets (239-40)
  • J. often battled false prophets
  • people are not to listen to them (2315f)
  • they speak from their own minds and are deluding
    themselves claiming all is well
  • these are people not called, not sent by God
    (21f)
  • they are prophesying lies in Gods name (25f)
  • who would you believe?

41
Book of Comfort (chs. 30-33)
  • it may seem that God had cast his people aside as
    having no hope . . . but no!
  • a glorious future will follow judgment (read
    301-3)
  • Israel will return to the Land and to God
    (301-3140)
  • 304-11 after judgment, God will break the yoke
    and a Davidic king will again rule Israel
  • this was never fulfilled in Israel but was in
    Christ of the line of David (Luk 132-33)

42
Comfort and Covenant
  • God is determined to honor his covenant of
    blessings (313)
  • God promises a joyful restoration of all Israel
    with festival pilgrimages (311-6)
  • Jer 3115-17 Rachael weeps for loss of 10
    northern tribes (see Matt 218)
  • 3121-26 the return of the northern tribes from
    exile set out with markers

43
Old Covenant and New (3131-34)
  • after exodus, God vowed to bless them if they
    lived in faithful obedience
  • Israel broke the covenant and went to exile
  • God promises a new improved covenant
  • New laws will be written on their hearts, not on
    tablets of stone (v 33)
  • God will provide a new internal compulsion to
    know the Lord (v 34)

44
New Hearts and Covenants
  • NT declares Jesus to be the mediator of the New
    Covenant (Heb 87-13)
  • Christs sacrifice brings forgiveness and new
    life to all who place faith in him (Rom 321-24,
    51-2)
  • God guaranteed his promise to Jeremiah by
    appealing to nature (3135-37)
  • sun, moon and starts would change courses before
    his promises would fail.

45
Overview of the Rest
  • Failures in Leadership (341-3918)
  • leadership doesnt keep its word (341-22)
  • hasnt learned obedience (351-19)
  • refuses to respect Gods word (361-32)
  • refuses to listen to Gods prophet (37-38)
  • Jerusalem pays a tragic price (391-18)
  • Jerusalem continues to be in trouble even after
    the fall and fails to learn (chs. 40-41

46
Oracles about the Nations (461-5164)
  • Egypt ch. 46
  • Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Babylon, etc.
  • Read Moab (4814-20)
  • descended from Lot, Abrams nephew
  • pride lay at the heart of their problems had
    not faced hostility from major world powers?
  • even their god Chemosh will go into exile
  • Yet hope is held out for their restoration
    (4847)

47
Themes Surgeons knife
  • Gods true word is like a surgeons knife
    painful but necessary
  • judgment was the beginning of restoration and
    true spiritual health
  • 822 Balm in Gilead (known for its healing
    ointments)
  • Yet people continue in their stubbornness and
    rebelliousness of heart (523)

48
Obligation to Covenant
  • obedience in form of love and faithfulness
  • social ethics required in covenant
  • blood of innocent poor on the skirts of the rich
    (234)
  • of the oppression of the alien, the orphan, the
    widow and the innocent (76).
  • commanded to execute justice and deliver the
    oppressed (2111).

49
  The Possibility of Repentance
  • Jer 1716-20 intercession prohibited
  • 1323 Can the Ethiopian change his skin       
    or the leopard its spots?        Neither can you
    do good        who are accustomed to doing evil.

50
The Devious Heart
  • heart is rebellious and stubborn (523)
  • The heart is devious above all else it is
    perverse who can understand it? (179)
  • original sin??

51
The Devious Heart - metaphors
  • a horse wildly plunging into battle (86)
  • birds with no homing instinct (87)
  • restless waves which go beyond their bounds
    (520ff)
  • Israels sin is etched on their hearts as with a
    iron or diamond point (171-4)
  • It is so natural, no one knows how to blush for
    it (812).

52
Real Cleansing
  • popular prophets teach short cuts
  • Jeremiah 2329 "Is not my word like fire,"
    declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks
    a rock in pieces?
  • 156 You have rejected me," declares the LORD.
           "You keep on backsliding.        So I
    will lay hands on you and destroy you        I
    can no longer show compassion.

53
The Transcendent Judge
  •  2323 "Am I only a God nearby,"        declares
    the LORD,        "and not a God far away?
  •  24 Can anyone hide in secret places        so
    that I cannot see him?"        declares the
    LORD.        "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"
           declares the LORD.
  • 51-3 Divine Diogenes searches for one righteous
    man

54
Two Notes on Judgment
  • God is at work through human events.
  • Go to the house of the potter. ch. 18
  • Gods wrath as a removal of protection which
    allows events achieve their unintentional results
  • natural consequences
  • (619, 1710) fruit of their devices

55
New Community and Covenant
  • Jeremiah purchases a field ch. 32
  • A new day of restoration for the Houses of both
    Israel and Judah
  • Jeremiah 3131-34
  • Jeremiah builds and plants the church

56
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